UAAP: La Salle turns back NU to bolster Final Four bid
MANILA, Philippines–Schonny Winston finally suited up for the La Salle Green Archers but didn’t get his usual minutes.
That hardly became a cause of concern for the Green Archers as they managed to pull off a 63-58 win over the National University Bulldogs on Wednesday at the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament.
Penny Estacio fired all of his 13 points and even outscored the entire NU crew in the third quarter, highlighted by three triples, that created a wide gap that the Bulldogs weren’t able to overcome.
The Archers streaked to their third straight victory, their sixth overall in 12 games, putting themselves closer to their Final Four aspirations while figuring in a tight contest with the Adamson Falcons in the standings.
“We needed this win because we’re aiming to be in the Final Four. I didn’t force it, my shots just went in,’’ said Estacio, who gallantly filled up the shoes of Winston, who continues to nurse a strained calf.
The MVP contender missed four straight games and fielded in for only three seconds in the first half before La Salle coach Derrick Pumaren sent him back on the sidelines for the remainder of the match.
“Penny had a big third quarter, he gave us that lift that we needed. It was Penny’s turn to step up in this game,’’ said Pumaren.
Already assured of showing up in the playoffs, the Bulldogs weren’t as ferocious and played catchup for the entirety of the contest before absorbing their fourth defeat in 13 games prior to wrapping up their stint in the second round against the Falcons on Saturday.
The Bulldogs chased down the Archers in the fourth, but every time they came up with something earth-shaking, La Salle had a ready answer through the snipings of Evan Nelle and incursions of Kevin Quiambao.
John Figueroa had 19 points and Jhon Lloyd Clemente added 15 for the Bulldogs.
“It was a dogfight out there and they are still the second hottest team in the league and the No. 2 team, so just kept on pounding and digging out there to come out with the victory,’’ said Pumaren.